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Epic Sciences, UPenn Partner on Single-Cell Liquid Biopsy Studies

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Epic Sciences and the University of Pennsylvania's Abramson Cancer Center today announced a collaboration to find biomarkers in circulating tumor cells.

Under the terms of the agreement, the partners will conduct multiple studies analyzing circulating tumor cells (CTCs) at single-cell resolution to find biomarkers that are predictive of response to cancer treatments. Researchers at the Abramson Cancer Center will use Epic Sciences' "no cell left behind" CTC detection platform to study heterogeneity in different cancer types and find genomic and phenotypic markers to understand how tumors change and how they respond to existing and new therapies.

"Successful treatment of cancer depends on understanding the heterogeneity of the patient's tumor burden and the driving genetic alterations behind disease progression," Epic Sciences CEO Murali Prahalad said in a statement. The firm's CTC detection platform can quantify both proteomic and genomic changes that accumulate in tumor cells, over time and in response to successive rounds of therapy. The approach could help evaluate early signs of drug resistance and has the potential to influence therapy selection, including the use of combination therapies, the firm said in a statement.

Epic Sciences has partnered with several organizations to support clinical trials with its CTC technology as it drives towards regulatory approval of the platform. In July, the firm signed a deal to make its CTC technology available to Laboratory Corporation of America to support clinical trials in Asia. In May, the firm linked up with the Prostate Cancer Clinical Trial Consortium to provide its technology in prostate cancer clinical trials.